Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) yesterday floated a tender to purchase equipment for setting up a National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR) in a move to stop illegal import of mobile phones.
The NEIR will be a central database for International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), a unique 15-digit identification or serial number inbuilt in mobile phones or smartphones.
Once the database was up and running, the regulator will be able to control connectivity in the telecom network and block fake or cloned handsets, said officials related with the process.
Customers will also be able to check the authenticity of their handsets by sending an SMS to the database.
The telecom regulator has asked interested firms to place their bids by March 31.
The bidder must have a minimum seven years' relevant experience and, in case of joint ventures, five years', the tender reads.
The experience includes supplying and installing the NEIR or software solutions integrating mobile phone operators with the regulatory authority or government organisations.
The companies must have a track record of making similar supplies worth a minimum of $5 million in the past five years.
The required average annual turnover of the participants must be at least $1 million in last three years.
Firms having the technical and legal competencies for developing such a product can jointly apply but they must first engage in a legal agreement for one of them to be the lead firm, reads the tender.
The BTRC in a notice in July last year asked citizens to check the authenticity of mobile handsets before making purchases and warned that it would disconnect fake handsets once the NEIR comes into operation.
In the notice, the telecom regulator said the same would apply for mobile phones found to be a clone or carrying a wrong IMEI number.
The BTRC officials said the commission was hoping to start running the NEIR by the end of this year.
Handset sales reached 3.28 crore units in 2019. Some 66 lakh of it were illegally imported, according to local handset manufacturers.